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ReptileAddiction
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Container Tips

So I just can NOT get my tomatos in containers to do well. I think part of the reason is the extreme intense heat. My plan is to put a bit of see through clothe on top of the cage to give it a little shade. My other problem is dehydration. I realized that since I am growing it in a grow pot the water just ran out the sides without taking it into the soil. So I thought I had just given it a couple gallons of water when really it go almost none. Do you think next year it would be better to put it in a slightly small plastic pot instead of the 15 gallon grow pot? I also wanted to ask you guys if you had any recommendations for varieties. I want an heirloom, indeterminate, normal size tomato with dark fruit (like the black varieties) Thanks.

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rainbowgardener
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I'm not sure I know what you mean by "grow pot." But I think the issue with the water just running through is about the soil you have in it and the way you water. Peat moss heavy soils can dry out and get water resistant, so water runs off it. So look for potting soils with less peat moss or make your own mix. Always be sure your potting soil is well wetted before you put it in the pot - that may mean putting it in a wheelbarrow and pouring water on and stirring it around. Then be sure you water thoroughly. Bottom watering is good if you can. Otherwise pour some water on, let it soak in awhile and then repeat.

15 gallons isn't really necessary, but in a hot dry climate, I wouldn't do less than 10. And understand you may have to water twice a day.

Shade cloth is a good idea. And you just may not be able to have tomatoes producing in heat of summer. Marlingardener is in TX and she says she gets tomatoes in spring and then they shut down and then she gets more in fall.
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CharlieBear
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Just a question do the tomatoes get enough nutrition? Does your potting mix contain trace minerals like calcium and is it near nutral in ph, some are really acidic. Potted tomatoes need more nutrients than those in the ground since the constant watering leaches it out of the soil more quickly.
Also do you mulch the ground in the pot around the tomato and by chance are you reusing the potting soil, don't.
As for recommendations in pots determinate tomatoes only and the shorter varieties seem to do better. If you like romas say then icebox romas.
I find that tomatoes in the pot have a tendency to get more leggy than their counterparts so definately the shorter varieties.
There are really large self watering pots I have used them in the past with some success and you might be surprised at how often you have to fill the reservor.

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ReptileAddiction
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A grow bag is a thick fabric pot.

https://www.amazon.com/Hydrofarm-HGDB15-Reusable-Planting-15-Gallon/dp/B004S0KVF2/ref=sr_1_11?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1350682698&sr=1-11&keywords=grow+pot


The soil is very well balanced on nutrients and ph. I am fertilizing with fish emulsion.

imafan26
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Have you tried tomatoes in an earthbox? or self watering container. Once the tomatoes get large they need up to 4 gallons of water a day. A small tomato (dwarf) can be grown in a 5 gallon pot. A large tomato should have an 18 gallon tub with a 5 gallon reservoir. Advantages are that you will be bottom watering so less diseases from splash back onto the plants. The reservoir means the plant should not have to go thirsty. I have not had a problem with blossom end rot with this system and I do not add lime to my soil mix even though it is recommended in some formulas. Cons: homemade earthboxes from rubbermaid tubs are not uv resistant but they will last a couple of years. Put a lot of support under the divider.
I have a drip system running to each pot to fill them every day. I top them off by hand once a week to make sure they are getting enough water.
https://www.seattleoil.com/Flyers/Earthbox.pdf
Aren't grow pots used for hydroponic systems?
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PunkRotten
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I have been growing one tomato plant in a pot for 2 seasons now and not happy with the results. You should consider putting it in partial shade. If plants are in the ground they can handle the full sun but when in pots they may benefit from some shade. I was thinking my problem was that the pot was too small and the roots were getting root bound. But the pot is about 10 gallons. I also recommend Black Prince or perhaps Black Zebra for a tomato to try.

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applestar
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Wow I had not seen this thread before.

I believe those fabric grow pots were intended to be used in conjunction with a self-watering tray/platform. At leat that's the way they were sold when they first started showing up in gardening catalogs. You could buy them or make your own. Have you seen the home-made self watering seed starting tray that was posted in the recycled container thread in Seed Strating Forum? It's that kind of design..

I think you could make one with an under-the-bed kind of shallow storage container, largish table busing tub used in restaurants, or maybe concrete mixing tub. I'm thinking carpet felt for wicking mat. I'll let you come up with the riser and platform. :wink:

I think if I were trying one of those grow bags/pots, I would put it directly on the (dirt/grassy) ground. That way, as long as there are no drought conditions moisture could be wicked up from the ground.

imafan26
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Thanks for the link applestar. I did not have much luck starting seeds with peat pots,pellets, or commercial grow trays. They were always too wet. I even tried using my pot maker to make my own pots. It worked a little better, but really hard to transport. I was not using the seed starting tray the right way. My pots were sitting in water in the bottom of the tray. Most seeds failed to germinate from dampening off and what did germinate rotted soon after. I heard about capillary and heat mats but have never used them. Now, that I know about this, I might try it again someday.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Yeah, the peat pots etc do hold too much water. If you try again, just use plastic pots. And just put a little water in the bottom of the tray, just to barely touch the bottom of the pot, so that it can be wicked up in a few hours. I add water to my seed starting trays pretty much every day. But if you find water still in the tray from yesterday, you are using too much water.

Check out the seed starting forum!
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budgie
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Most important thing for tomato containers is that you wash them thoroughly before adding your fresh compost. Old dirty containers can harbour all sorts of diseases that could affect your crop.

On the subject of black tomatoes, in am going to give the Cuban black variety ago this year - allegedly on of the best tasting beefsteaks!

imafan26
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Thanks for the advice rainbow. I think the plastic pots will work out better and it is easier to pick up and empty the tray if there is still water in it.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

sepeters
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Try watering your pots more often with compost tea or vermicompost tea. I was having problems with many potted plants last summer and a friend suggested this. Pots tend to dry out more and then the microbes in the soil die and the compost tea replenishes them and won't burn or make your plants over veg like constant fish emulsion application might. My tomatoes did not produce any fruit at all until I started giving them the tea weekly, so I think that was (part of) the problem. It also smells much better than fish! It is extremely dry here, so you may not need to apply as often.

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rainbowgardener
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Yeah, if your tomato plants are staying in containers, they need a LOT of water, especially in hot dry climates. In that climate, they may need watering twice daily, because containers dry out so much faster than the ground. It might help to try mulching the surface of the container. And then of course all that watering flushes the nutrients out, so they need frequent fertilization.

I gave up on trying to grow tomatoes in containers outdoors, I just couldn't keep up with it, but then I have the in-ground option. If I didn't, I would continue to try the containers.
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sepeters
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Re: Container Tips

ReptileAddiction wrote: I also wanted to ask you guys if you had any recommendations for varieties. I want an heirloom, indeterminate, normal size tomato with dark fruit (like the black varieties) Thanks.
Make sure you participate in the tomato forum free seed giveaway! The black krim are everything you are looking for and should be ok in your climate. 8)

fishguysky
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If you have the space indoors in a sunny window it would help :)
I was in an apartment and put a 5 gallon bucket in a window and got it to fruit before my cat decided to play with it. lol
~Sky~



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